3 on a Monday: VELO3D to go public via SPAC, Nemetschek talks subs transition, the Suez Canal is back in business

Mar 29, 2021 | Hot Topics

Wait – it’s Monday, not Friday! Yes, that’s unfortunately true. Technical issues last week kept us from posting. Things seem to be working well now, but please let us know via the contact form on the About Us page if something is misbehaving.

These SPACs are starting to be a thing in our PLMish universe, and especially the additive portion. First, Markforged and now VELO3D. VELO3D and JAWS Spitfire Acquisition Corporation, another special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), announced that they will be combining, the net result of which will be a publicly-traded VELO3D in the second half of 2021. VELO3D’s 3D metal printing solution is used in the “production of mission-critical components for space rockets, jet engines, fuel delivery systems and energy production with better performance, at faster speed and lower cost than traditional methods.” Interestingly, VELO3D only launched commercially in late 2018, so this sort-of IPO is a relatively quick one and values the company at $1.6 billion. VELO3D founder and CEO Benny Buller said, “With JAWS Spitfire’s long-term partnership, we expect to extend the reach of VELO3D’s technology and bring its solutions to even more customers globally. As we scale our business and advance our growth strategy, we expect to expand the high value metal additive manufacturing market and strengthen our competitive position.” More info at VELO3D’s investor relations website.

Nemetschek released more details about its performance in 2020 –none of which was surprising– but did set targets going ahead. For 2021, it sees “currency-adjusted revenue growth … at least in the high single-digit percentage range”, totally reasonable given the 7% reported (8% in constant currencies and 6% organic)) growth the company reported for 2020. Also noteworthy was the company’s intention of moving more customers to a “cloud-centric subscription model (SaaS) [in the] global Build-division brand Bluebeam which will start in the second half of 2021.” Nemetschek says that Bluebeam has around 2.2 million users worldwide of its project collaboration solutions; Nemetschek believes that the move to the cloud/SaaS model is essential to hitting the target of doubling revenue by 2025. That contribution from Bluebeam is expected to lift the Build portfolio to 90% subs by 2023; the other portfolios are expected to lag but also still grow their proportion of revenue from subs. Design, the biggest brands at Nemetschek are expected to see 60% of revenue from subs (but only 15% of revenue from SaaS) by 2023. What can we learn from this? That how software is paid for (subscription or something else) isn’t the same as how it’s used (desktop, cloud or something else). At least through 2023, Nemetschek is offering its customers choice in both — and it clearly expects a relatively slow uptake in cloud CAD from its design users.

Finally, you just know naval architects the world over have been glued to their TVs. The huge container ship that was blocking the Suez Canal has been refloated, a week after a sandstorm (and likely mistakes by the crew) caused it to become wedged into a narrow part of the canal, effectively blocking its use. A combination of digging out the bow of the ship, higher tides, and hard work by tugs pushing and pulling, freed the ship today, Monday. Next up, inspections by divers to ensure that the ship wasn’t damaged by the grounding and is safe for operations. And we’ll see investigations and finger-pointing. How did this happen? Why? What implications does it have for onboard systems? For structural hull integrity? For crew training? We learned a lot after the Costa Concordia, so I’m sure there will be systemic changes after this, too.

That’s it for now – have a great week!